Smart phones are so ingrained into business now; it is almost a requirement to have one. It is used for emails, tweets, contact information, texting, maps to get you to clients, apps to entertain you while waiting for clients, and dare I say it...phone calls!
The problem is that the smart phones are the one part of your company with sensitive information that walks out the door every day. There are emails with company information, contacts that are important or telling, access to internal systems all on these devices and pictures that are geotagged.
Few businesses or IT companies have addressed this issue to control and maintain a standard for the phones that protect their companies. These devices are more vulnerable than most people think. Each can get malware just like computers which steal information from the phone. This usually is done by the user downloading an application to the phone which comprises the phone. How many users really read the information on what the app access on the phone?
There are a lot of things to consider about the phones. Phones get lost, stolen, can be access without the user knowing, the user could leave the company with the phone. There is even the government to worry about. Yes, it is time to put on your tin foil hat and read along. Recently there have been several cases of phones being subject to searches during routine traffic stops, legally. In some states there isn't a requirement to have a warrant to go through the phone, even it if is off and not in plain sight. The phone is considered to be a container and personal property similar to clothes. If the Officers could search your person for weapons or illegal materials, then the phone is fair game as well. There have been convictions based off of text messages found in phones. Luckily, there are campaigns to make the warrant required to conduct the search, but we will see if they get passed. Why should you care? Well, some of these searches involve downloading ALL the data on the phone and keeping it. Your company data is now in the hands of the Government, in data storage facilities that you do not control and maintained by whoever was the lowest bidder for the job. Comforting isn't it.
You can take off the tin foil hat now……
What can you do to remedy this? Create your policies that control or set the level of expectations for the usage, maintenance and protection of the phones. The Information Technology groups are best placed to champion these changes. We understand the technology, business needs, and the users who use the phones.
A great resource I found on the internets was from the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-124 - Guidelines on Cell Phone and PDA Security. Yes it says PDA...I know seems dated, the publication came out in 2008. But it is still a great place to start. It has information on what the risks are, suggestions on how to reduce the risks, and insights that will help make informed decisions. Set up your protection now before something happens. It isn't a matter of if, just when.
by Chad Weaver
The reviews are in. This IT support/gadget lover guy is truly impressed with what Microsoft has done with the new windows 7 phones. It is amazing to think that this company might actually “get it” for the first time in a long time, and that it may be what the consumer really wants. I know, you’re saying, “Windows 7 the operating system really seemed to stop the slide away from consumer mistrust and anger. I mean Vista, friends!” I would also like to mention this; has anyone seen a single Mac vs. PC commercial in a long time? Must have done something right there. Take that, Apple!
I have been looking at all the boring presentations and long form reviews. They do complement the fact that these phones really do seem sleek. I was a little worried when I heard Microsoft was going to try to enter the smart phone market again. I mean have you ever used a Windows Mobile device?
It was painful and traumatizing.
It got the job done but it wasn’t really fun getting there at all. To see what they have done here is truly amazing. They’re putting great features in a standard OS where it will be the same experience whether you by Samsung HTC and so on. Integration with Zune? My poor little Zune looks like a relic now. Blackberry needs to look out, if Microsoft offers robust business features RIM is looking more and more like a dinosaur. Well, like the mobile dinosaur that Microsoft used to look like. They just keep pushing the same subpar models and features, hanging on to the “Business” moniker. This might not be an iPhone killer or an Android killer but RIM is on the ropes for sure. I must also say I got into the business of IT support because of Microsoft and it’s really great to see them making waves again. I might even think to try one of their phones out, I don’t know that I would give up my shiny new iPhone but who knows these things are much snazzier then I first thought.
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